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New Recidivism Report Shows Decline of Inmates Returning to Prison

The “2010 Adult Institutions Outcome Evaluation Report” Makes Recidivism DataAvailable for Adult Offenders Released from Prison

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today released a new publication, the 2010 Adult Institutions Outcome Evaluation Report. The report shows an overall decline in one-year recidivism rates since 2005, a watershed year marked by the Governor’s commitment to add “Rehabilitation” to CDCR’s title and mission.

The report shows that one-year recidivism rates fell from 49.1 percent for offenders released from prison in fiscal year 2005/06 to 47.5 percent for offenders released in fiscal year 2007/08. This recidivism measure includes inmates returned to prison, whether for new crimes or for parole violations.

“These results are very encouraging,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “I am committed to continuing our rehabilitation efforts to help recidivism rates decline even further.”

More than 100,000 offenders have been released each year from CDCR prisons since fiscal year 2004/05, magnifying the effect of even slight changes in recidivism rates.

“The 1.6 percentage point overall drop in recidivism we see here represents a decrease in thousands of crimes,” said Steven Chapman, Assistant Secretary, Office of Research.

While CDCR has tracked return-to-prison rates for first-time felons released from prison since 1977, the 2010 Adult Institutions Outcome Evaluation Report expands this measure of recidivism to include re-released felons and felons who have been discharged from parole. Measured over a three-year period, inmates released in fiscal year 2005/06 have a recidivism rate of 67.5 percent.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Nearly three-quarters of felons who recidivate did so within a year of release.
  • Most recidivists returned to prison for parole violations.
  • After three years, re-released felons returned to prison at a rate 16.8 percentage points higher than those released for the first time.
  • Females have a three-year return-to-prison rate of 58 percent, which is approximately 10 percentage points lower than that of males.
  • In general, recidivism rates declined with age. Among inmates, ages 18 to 24 when released in fiscal year 2005/06, nearly 75 percent returned to prison within three years, compared to about 67 percent ages 40 to 44 and 46 percent of those 60 years of age and older.
  • Sex offenders recidivate at a slightly lower rate compared with other felons. Of the sex offenders who recidivate, 86 percent do so because of a parole violation.

The in-depth report also includes analyses of demographics including gender, age, offense, arrest history, length of stay, risk category, mental health status and behavior while under CDCR custody and supervision.

The 2010 Adult Institutions Outcome Evaluation Report is the first in a series of annual reports about the outcomes of inmates released from CDCR correctional institutions. The report is published by the CDCR Office of Research, which provides research, data analysis and evaluation to implement evidence-based programs and practices, strengthen policy, inform management decisions and ensure accountability.

To view the entire report, please visit

For Immediate Release
Contact: Terry Thornton or Paul Verke
(916) 445-4950